DURBAN - POOR planning has been blamed after the provincial Department of Education urgently called for teachers from the Umkhanyakude, eThekwini and uMlazi (Pinetown) districts to report to work instead of the vaccination sites on Monday.
KwaZulu-Natal teacher unions expressed their shock and disappointment with the department.
The department announced that all teachers who were supposed to be vaccinated on Monday should report to work as the vaccination doses had depleted.
National Teachers Union provincial secretary Cynthia Barnes said: “This means that both the departments of Education and Health did not have a plan in advance. Other teachers had already hired cars to take them to vaccination sites.”
Natu wanted the department to announce well in advance when the vaccines would be available. “We cannot afford to leave the pupils unattended in schools at such a crucial time of teaching and learning,” Barnes said.
The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa KZN spokesperson Thirona Moodley said they hoped vaccinations would continue before the end of the week.
“We are disappointed because the densely populated districts have depleted vaccines that were meant for other districts. We are calling on the department to consider SGB teachers. They are in public schools and also must be prioritised. We want them to be included in the vaccination process.”
The SA Democratic Teachers Union welcomed the department’s announcement, saying it prevented unnecessary confusion. “The department’s announcement is good and proper because teachers know exactly that they must go to school instead of the vaccination sites. Had they not made an announcement, it would have misled the teachers,” said provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza.
She urged the KZN Health department to engage with the national department to ensure vaccines were delivered in the province.
KZN Education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said all doses given to the department last week were finished.
“All educators who were supposed to be vaccinated today and tomorrow we are appealing to them to go back to school, not to go to the sites where they were supposed to go as had been planned because all the doses we were given got depleted last week,” Mahlambi said.
“There is no need to panic. All teaching and non-teaching staff will get their chance to be vaccinated.”